Experts say that supplements and topicals can be used to reduce or even reverse the natural hair pigment.
Gray hair is not unusual as we age. However, humans desire to reverse any natural phenomena that may indicate our mortality. As such, there are products designed to stop those gray hairs from happening – some supplements promise to prevent gray hair from coming in in the first place, while other topicals claim to reverse the gray. Even L’Oreal found reason to pursue the subject, announcing in 2011 that an all-natural pill would be out within five years that could prevent gray hair. L’Oreal reps said that this is not a priority area for their research team.
However, as the abandoned project may suggest, preventing gray hair loss is not as easy as popping a pill.
Although the mechanisms that cause gray hair are complex, it is simply due to a loss of pigmentation. Gray hair occurs when there is less pigmentation in the hair. This is largely genetically determined.
There are a few reasons why gray hair might grow faster. Craig Ziering, a board-certified dermatologist, and the founder of Ziering Medical, states that vitamin deficiencies, particularly vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin E, or biotin can increase gray hair growth. Both external factors like a poor diet and the environment such as UV radiation can cause oxidative stress. Ziering stated that smoking has a significant impact on graying. “Studies have shown smokers are twice as likely to begin graying before age 30, than non-smokers,” Ziering stated.
Hair products, including those used to dye or bleach hair, can contain ingredients that reduce melanin. One such chemical is hydrogen peroxide which is found in many hair dyes. Ziering stated that excessive use of bleach products can eventually lead to hair turning white.
Stress is also a factor. Think of the often-quoted comparison between presidents in their first and last years.
Keeping hair from going gray is big business – just take a look at the range of products available claiming to act as a gray hair treatment. According to experts, it is impossible to reverse gray hairs or prevent them from developing as we age. Ziering stated that while certain health conditions and nutrient deficiencies may lead to premature gray hairs, natural hair color cannot be restored if the grays are natural or genetic.
If you want to reduce gray hair, there are reasons to be optimistic. Gray hair is permanent. However, most information we have about it says there is no way to get your hair back. One study showed that stress reduction might be beneficial. It’s not an easy task, is it? Researchers discovered that some subjects’ gray hairs were repigmented when they went on vacation. Although the study is not perfect, it shows that stress and its reduction can have an impact on hair color.
Martin Picard, a Columbia University researcher and the author of this study, said that “we can’t completely stop our hairs going gray.” “This study shows that aging can be unpredictable. It is not something we can control. How we see the world, how we perceive it, and how stressed we are can all influence the way our cells age and how gray our hairs turn.”
There are other ways to reduce stress. However, these tactics are only effective if there is a lifestyle change or nutritional deficiency.
Ziering explained that certain vitamins and minerals are essential for hair’s ability to produce the pigments (melanin), that it needs to maintain its natural color. He said that amino acids and proteins are good for our follicles. Keep in mind that consuming foods rich in the vitamins and antioxidants, such as fresh fruits, green tea, olive oils, and fish, can help to counter the effects of oxidative stresses.
Ziering advised that you eat well, rest well, avoid smoking, and work against environmental stressors. Sun protection is important for your hair and scalp. Increase calcium, protein and B vitamins.
Supplements that claim to prevent gray hair may be effective if they make up nutritional deficiencies. However, they won’t work as well as eating healthy and taking multivitamins.
There are currently treatments that can reverse graying and repigment your hair. Ziering stated that these agents include enzymes like catalase, which break down hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is known to accumulate in graying hair’s dermis. There may be treatment or prevention. He said that this could someday lead to a treatment that reverses the loss of pigmentary potential in the melanocytes of hair bulb.
He said, “Not today nor tomorrow, but in near future, we may potentially uncover a Benjamin Button’ effect that results in restoration of richer and more youthful hair colors for the 40s to 50s, 60s, and beyond.”
Picard continues to research gray hair. Picard spoke of how our human experiences are embedded in our biology, in our hairs. “The mind is connected to the body, and this is evident even in hairs.”
There is still the option to accept the gray. This is, in my opinion, the best way to avoid stress.